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Posts Tagged ‘Denico Autry’

No. 31: Mississippi State

What last fall did was bring Mississippi State back down to Earth. Run roughshod over the SEC? Leap tall buildings, Nick Saban and L.S.U. in a single bound? Put together an offense that will leave this defense-based conference gasping for breath? It’s not that easy, with last season as our evidence — but don’t get off the bandwagon. Instead, adjust your thinking to recognize the battles that await any team hoping to reach bowl eligibility in the SEC, let alone one planning to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a three-year span. The road to a major bowl will always go through an Auburn, Arkansas, L.S.U. or Alabama; that’s life in the SEC West, where you’re either quick or you’re dead, and no one wants to be Mississippi. So where does that leave the Bulldogs heading into fall camp? Here’s where it should: firm in the knowledge that progression comes in all shapes and sizes; that sometimes, improvement is not necessarily manifested in the win column; and that last year’s team was not necessarily worse than the nine-win team that preceded it. All systems are still go. The bandwagon remains full. But it will never, ever be easy to navigate the rocky shores of the SEC West.

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    The Countdown

    A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.